Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Woody Allen is analyzed by Peter Sellers
WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? (1965). Director: Clive Donner. Screenplay by Woody Allen.

Dr. Frtiz Fassbender (Peter Sellers) is a very weird psychoanalyst with a jealous, Wagnerian wife (Eddra Gale). Most of Fassbender's clients are in serious need of help, including Michael James (Peter O'Toole), who has a fiancee, Carol (Romy Schneider of Sissi), but who just can't keep away from admiring women. Fassbender has the hots for another client, Renee (Capucine of The Pink Panther), but she, too, prefers Michael. Then there's Victor (Woody Allen in his film debut), who supposedly has a girlfriend but who winds up in a dalliance with Carol. And we mustn't forget Liz (Paula Prentiss of Follow the Boys), who decides she wants to marry Michael after a one-night-stand and keeps trying to commit suicide. All of these characters and more wind up at a trysting place where there are rooms named after great lovers ("We've put two cheating men in the Don Juan room." says the proprietor.) If What's New, Pussycat? sounds riotous be warned that it's often more frenetic than funny and that the treatment is a bit smarmy and silly instead of sophisticated. Sellers is wonderful and most of the cast are at least enthusiastic. The opening with Fassbender and his wife is rather hilarious, however, and there are amusing moments throughout. The film's frankness was probably refreshing in this period. At one point Sellers/Fassbender analyzes Victor/Allen. Ultimately, Sellers is the more versatile and brilliant comedian; Woody developed his nebbish persona (from his stand-up act) in this movie and has never veered from it one iota.The title tune is warbled by the then-very popular Tom Jones, who used to get panties thrown at him by the ladies in the audience during his live shows.

Verdict: Silly stuff, but very popular in its day -- Allen's first movie and first hit. **1/2.


angelman66 said...

Fun movie, great cast, has been a long time since I have seen this one. Peter Sellers really was an enormous star for a while...the Robin Williams of his time basically. Always love fed him best as Clouseau, of course!
- Chris

William said...

Yes, he made a superb Clouseau and no one could better him, although Steve Martin gave it the old college try.